Six-and-a-Half Reasons Personal Mission Statements Are Not As Lame as You Think
I admit that when I hear the phrase “Personal Mission Statement” it sounds… I don’t know, foo-foo. It sounds like something I would be forced to craft at a work retreat between trust falls and some cheesy game involving throwing an imaginary ball around the room and sharing my feelings. But I was in professional slump about a year ago so I broke down and decided to give it a try. I crafted a very specific statement for myself as a corporate speaker: “Re-energize audiences by entertaining and educating through storytelling.” Oddly enough, even though I knew what I did professionally, I had never actually said those words aloud and the results have been surprising, not just through increased business but also a renewed energy. Here are six-and-a-half reasons why I think the mission statement process works:
1. Mission statements are not permanent. You are not tied to the words you say today and you could change them tomorrow if you wanted. So don’t overthink it. Your mission can - and should - evolve as you grow. My statement has already gone through a few tweaks and I’m considering more!
2. Having a mission statement can give you a rudder in a choppy corporate sea. With all the work that we are expected to do, it is easy to lose track of the big picture and instead worry about that never-ending inbox of immediate chores. But taking on those tasks with an endgame in mind – even if it’s the back of your mind – can create a new attitude about their meaning.
3. A mission statement can help guide your goals. Having something to look forward to is so very important in life, so why would your job be any different? Dr. Alex Lickerman of Psychology Today says, “anticipating something pleasant seems to have almost unequaled power to make our present glow.” Allow yourself to enjoy the dream a little with your mission statement and in small increments that dream can get bigger as you grow.
4. A specific mission statement helps bring clarity to your personal brand. Being specific with everything we do makes us better at the tasks we enjoy and clearly demonstrates the areas in which we don’t excel. Knowing this, you can start to look for ways to weave your strengths into your existing job and be able to more specifically look for company advancement with positions that fit your skill set.
5. Your mission statement can be contagious. I recently started mentioning my mission statement in presentations and have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people I am impacting. I often get emails from attendees telling me that they are introducing their own personal mission statement into their work. You too, can have this sort of impact at your company.
6. Mission statements can serve as a reminder when your job sucks. I’m not going to sugar coat it: all jobs have their moments of… well, suckiness. When those moments strike, it’s nice to have a reminder of the big picture to prevent you from having an office meltdown.
And 6.5… Once you let yourself go, mission statements can be fun. Anheiser Bucsh has my favorite company mission statement: “Our Mission: Be The Worlds Beer Company.” Now that’s a tag line! Simple, clear, and forward thinking. But more than anything else, that’s a fun statement.
So if you don’t have a personal mission statement, I encourage you to not wait as long as I did. Keep calm and state on!